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New Blu-Ray format to supercede SACD/DVD-A?


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#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Mark M. Smith

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Posted May 20 2008 - 11:38 AM

I was thinking earlier today that with Blu-Ray adoption picking up and the win in the format war it seems odd that current high resolution audio formats are still constrained to older audio technology. Not to start any wars here, but SACD is basically a hack of CD using DSD to cram higher resolution audio into the same space. DVD-A basically just uses the higher capacity of DVDs to put larger higher resolution audio on in PCM. With the greater space available on Blu-Ray it would seem that since we've moved into discs with greater capacity we'd be capable of high-quality audio without the limits of the past: namely space. Anyone heard anything being considered along these lines? Have any ideas on what might or might not be happening? Or has everyone in the industry been dissatisfied with the reception of the other formats to the degree that nobodies even going to bother trying to push high def audio-only formats into the marketplace?

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Alon Goldberg

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Posted May 20 2008 - 12:38 PM

Imho, both SACD and DVD-Audio have ultimately failed, I don't think the consumer market is ready for a new media based high-res music format. That being said, I just downloaded Nine Inch Nails - The Slip. This is available as a free torrent based download, with several download formats available:

1. High quality mp3, encoded with LAME at V0, fully tagged (87 MB)
2. M4A apple lossless (263MB)
3. FLAC lossless, CD quality (259 MB)
4. FLAC high definition 24/96, better than CD-quality, 24bit 96kHz sound (942 MB)
5. High definition Wave 24/96, better than CD-quality, 24bit 96kHz sound (1.5 GB)

Download: nine inch nails: the slip

I'm streaming the FLAC 24/96 download via my Squeezebox now.. The future is here, and it's not Blu-Ray. Posted Image

(for reference, I also have a Rega Planar 3 turntable and a Naim CD5x cd player, I firmly believe the formats that will survive will be vinyl and FLAC)

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   Chris Gerhard

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Posted May 20 2008 - 09:00 PM

SACD is actually on DVD media. The most common, hybrid SACD, uses a DVD5 with part of the DVD containing a Redbook CD layer and the balance 4.7GB SACD layer. I can only say I hope Blu-ray replaces SACD/DVD-A for high resolution surround audio. I have such a massive collection of SACD/DVD-A/CD discs, I can only scratch my head and wonder why I would want more audio discs. I listen to each disc on average far less than once a year. I haven't figured out the torrent thing and don't download anything but if downloading is the way of the future for audio, I will likely just stick to my collection of discs. I did notice that AIX, makers of very high quality dual sided DVD-A/DVD-V discs, don't know what those are called really, is now offering downloads. I agree Blu-ray would be perfect for high resolution audio, I hope it catches on, but if not, there will be something for consumers that want better than AAC, MP3 and iPod. The chances that whatever it is becomes mass market are not good, I think the consumer has already spoken and convenience, cheap and portable are what is in demand. SACD does continue on today for classical music and if that small niche moves over to Blu-ray, that would be a very nice start. Chris

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   DaveHo

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Posted May 21 2008 - 01:42 AM

Neil Young seems to think so.

Neil Young to release archive on Blu-ray - Gadgets - MSNBC.com

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Felix Martinez

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Posted May 21 2008 - 02:15 AM


Even if the Blu-ray authoring challenges are addressed, the Recording Industry still has another long haul. Really: what consumer is going to listen with a straight face to the Industry's next pitch of music on a new format after HDCD/SACD/DVD-Audio/DualDisc?

There might be a ray of hope. This recent survey focuses on the delivery of music thru Blu-ray. On the other hand, I think it might just underscore how clueless they are...

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Chris Gerhard

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Posted May 21 2008 - 03:06 AM

Felix, what are you hearing within the industry regarding a possible future for Blu-ray for audio? Neil is a good start, but he is hardly going to provide some big selling titles at this point. I already have most of Neil's DVD-A and 96kHz/24Bit DVD-V releases and won't likely buy any of his upcoming archive releases on Blu-ray. I am a big fan and I suspect some of his big fans will pick these up, but if Warner can show a profit on them, I would be surprised. Chris

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Felix Martinez

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Posted May 21 2008 - 03:33 AM

I have heard absolutely nothing, personally. That survey is the first public indication I've seen that reveals Sony is at least looking at the music delivery potential of Blu-ray. The questions begin with a focus on concerts/videos, etc. on Blu-ray, but then start asking about audio-only files, hi-res, surround, etc. As a hi-res surround sound music lover, I would love for there to be a future beyond SACD/DVD-Audio, but like Neil Young said: "People have to be led" to Blu-ray. Let's see what happens...

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted May 21 2008 - 04:27 AM

Considering "the absolute sound" is about getting as close to reproducing the live performance as much as possible, perhaps Blu-ray is indeed the natural next step for hirez audio w/ the help of the video side (both for commercial success as well as that "live" thing).

Certainly, I'd love to see and hear live concert recordings (and maybe some "music videos") in both HD *and* hirez surround audio combined for a more complete experience though I guess most of that will have to come from new recorded performances, not so much the old (since video quality will probably not be up to par w/ the old). OTOH, this should help give some life to the recorded music industry, if it works out, since there will be new demand for completely new content -- well, I imagine it'll help the classical music scene anyway (and I do plan to try some of the upcoming BD discs for this). And who knows? Maybe somebody will decide to use the 3D capabilities of Blu-ray (via its capacity to provide 2 simultaneous HD streams) to give that aspect an extra boost! Posted Image

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#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Mark M. Smith

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Posted May 21 2008 - 11:04 AM

I certainly hope things don't go the way of cheap, lossy, "convenient" downloads. As bad as physical media DRM is I'm really not about to pay to download something that's heavily crippled. Moreso even though I'm rather young (26) and in the prime demographic to support it I absolutely loathe the idea of digital delivery. Not only do I no longer get liner notes or anything else, but I have to do all the work of downloading myself, find space to store it in, and then have it largely tied to the health of my computer and hard drive. Which, well, I'm using my girlfriend's computer because mine has had enough problems that it hasn't been running for more than an hour or two since November. Sure I can back it up, but when I buy a CD I don't have to back it up because they provided me with the primary format I plan to use upfront. Ripping tracks is something I do for the secondary task of convenient portable use or occasional listening at the computer. Does physical media have problems? Yes, but I've rarely had any real problems with them. I don't lose CDs. I've only ever had one CD scratch (and that was because it came in a scratchy cardboard case). Storage space isn't really an issue. Most importantly is that listening is something that you do at home on a proper system. For that purpose, what I'd consider the primary purpose of recorded music, physical media is excellent. Sadly it looks like we might indeed be doomed by people who think that being able to blow your money right this minute on poor-quality, featureless, DRM-riddled digital downloads. I sure hope that us physical media fans don't end up turning into the vinyl fans of tomorrow.




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